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Bardia to Enfidaville

Brigade Operation Orders

Brigade Operation Orders

Fifth Infantry Brigade operation order was received by battalions early on 26 March. The order largely recapitulated what has been said above in relation to 10 Corps and NZ Corps orders, but the following paragraphs applied particularly to the brigade:

8. The attack will be made on a two bn front, 28 NZ (Maori) Bn on right, 23 NZ Bn on left, supported by RAF, Arty, and with two regts hy tanks (Notts Yeo and Staffs Yeo) superimposed on Bde front.

17. Carriers


Two secs carriers from 21 NZ Bn will report forthwith to 28 NZ (Maori) Bn and will come under comd on arrival.


Carriers universal and mortar will move behind by tanks and ahead of light flanks with special tasks of:—


Protecting flanks


Attacking and neutralising enemy A Tk guns


Covering exploitation and consolidation.

page 214

18. Special task: 21 NZ Bn will remain in present area and will assist adv by


Giving protection to right flank


Neutralising all enemy fire possible.

19. Action on capture of final objective




23 NZ Bn will exploit to limit of high ground on axis of adv.


28 NZ (Maori) Bn will exploit to limit of high ground on axis adv and to high ground on EAST.


Reorganisation: will proceed under unit direction on final objective.

20. MMGs: 2 NZ MG Coy will remain in present posn until further orders and maintain liaison with Bde HQ.

{This was the additional MG Coy in the Group.}

On 5 Brigade front, 28 Battalion, holding a frontage of 1400 yards on the exposed right flank, had the most difficult task, namely the capture of Point 209.

The 6 Brigade operation order was a simple one, as the brigade was attacking on a one-battalion front only. Special points were that 24 Battalion was to follow behind the Crusader tanks of 3 Royal Tanks as they crossed the start line. On the final objective the battalion was to reorganise on a 2000-yard front. The 25th Battalion was to support the attack with observed fire from its position on the left flank, and was to assist Divisional Cavalry in mopping up. The battalion was to be prepared to move forward and reorganise on the left of 24 Battalion once the final objective had been reached.

By dawn on 26 March the infantry was lying up in slit trenches, well camouflaged.1 Fires were forbidden and the men rested, for little sleep had been possible during the night. The forward positions, except those of 21 Battalion, obvious on Point 184, were not subjected to any increased shellfire in the period before zero hour, which is a tribute both to the success of the concealment, and to the battle discipline of the troops.

The plan for NZ Corps' part in SUPERCHARGE had been prepared speedily, and was simple and clear. It showed the GOC and 2 NZ Division at their best, and could be taken as a model of its kind. The preliminaries to the attack were also much to the credit of the Division and of the commander who trained it—the decisive attack on Point 184, and the amazing rearrangement of units during the night 25–26 March, all showing good staff work and good training.

While this activity was going on at Tebaga, far away in the rear the road from Medenine via Hallouf Pass was open for mechanical transport by nightfall on 25 March, the advance of page 215 4 Indian Division having uncovered the approaches. Contact between the two wings of Eighth Army was by that amount closer, but it does not appear that in the end much use was made of this route. New Zealand Corps did not use it, but continued to use the route via Wilder's Gap to Gabes. Shortly after the attack an Army Roadhead was opened near Gabes, and NZ Corps wound up its administrative tail on the old route and commenced drawing from there.

1 The armour had also hidden itself away, concealed under its camouflage nets.